Ready to explore an Irish road less travelled? If so, venture out to northwest Ireland where a slew of great, under-the-radar golf courses await—layouts that will leave yourself asking, “Why haven’t I played golf here before?”
County Sligo Golf Club (Rosses Point)
Enniscrone Golf Club
Donegal Golf Club (Murvagh)
Ballyliffin Golf Club
Portsalon Golf Club
Narin & Portnoo Links
Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links
Your adventure of discovery begins at County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point, a course that annually provides Irish amateurs with their toughest test of the year when it hosts the West of Ireland Championship, a tournament previously won by major champions such as Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry. “Rosses Point,” Peter Allis once said, “is a gentle sleeping giant…it can be a tremendous test for the highest quality player and great fun for the modest player. It stands at the top of great Irish courses”
Elsewhere in northwestern Ireland, a small sliver of the Wild Atlantic Way plays host to two championship-caliber courses: Ballyliffin Golf Club and Donegal Golf Club. Molded by architects the likes of Old Tom Morris, James Braid, Harry Vardon, H.S. Colt, Eddie Hackett, and Pat Ruddy, this duo of courses—both historic and contemporary—provides golf travelers with the firm and fast terrain that only authentic links layouts can. At Ballyliffin, visitors can even test their skills at a venue that recently hosted the Irish Open.
Equally historic courses across northwest Ireland beckon visiting golfers, including Portsalon Golf Club and Enniscrone Golf Club, which were founded in 1891 and 1930, respectively. Both golf clubs showcase the features of classic links golf that popularized the pastime more than a century ago; however, both also feature newly constructed holes and layouts that have kept the clubs relevant as the sport continues to evolve.
Not to be forgotten is recently renovated Narin & Portnoo links in County Donegal. “We are fortunate to work on some of the top golf courses around the world but there is something romantic about this.” Coming from legendary architect Gill Hanse, that quote verifies the necessity of playing this hidden gem.